Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mayor Knowles: 'Ferguson Has Been a Model for the Region...'

by Sunnyjane

Police Officer's Oath: I will preserve the dignity and will respect the rights of all individuals.

There have been so many differing versions, outright lies, and false witnesses swirling around the death of Michael Brown that it is virtually impossible to write a credible account of this tragedy.  Only two things are clear and undisputed: a white cop shot and killed an unarmed black eighteen-year-old and left his body in the street for four hours.  The remaining facts will be determined by investigators from the FBI and the Department of Justice.

It took the mayor of Ferguson, James Knowles, four days to make an appearance after Mike Brown's death.  It might have been wiser for him to remain hidden behind his mayoral office door, considering some of his statements, such as that Ferguson had been a model for the region since the population changed from white majority to black majority.  A model for what, exactly, he declined to share; readers will have to decide that for themselves.

The mayor went on to say that he was having difficulty seeing Ferguson as a racially divided city, and that This is not representative of our community.  Well, either James Knowles pulled a Rip Van Winkle and just woke up, or he's a liar.  Some insight that it just may be a lie came with this statement:  The African-American community — youth in the African-American community in particular — has something against law enforcement in many ways.  

In reality, Ferguson and the surrounding area have a history of racial strife, and by that hot day in August,  the majority population had had enough.

When Isolated Incidences Happen Far Too Frequently

Police Officer's Oath: I will discharge my duties with integrity and will promote understanding and conciliation.

It seems that each time an unarmed black person is shot by a police officer, it is shrugged off as an isolated incident, as if such a thing were so far out of the community norm that it's not worth keyboarding into a computer spreadsheet.  The latest figures available, January to June 2012, show that 136 unarmed blacks were killed by police officers, armed guards, or vigilantes disguised as neighborhood watchdogs.  That's one weaponless African American dead every thirty-two hours or so in a six-month period.

It is, um, interesting that the officer who shot Mike Brown had been commended in February by his department.  Chief Thomas Jackson read the citation:  Acting alone, you struggled with one subject and were able to gain control of the subject and his car keys until assistance arrived.  [Note that the subject was subdued; he was not shot six times.]  I say it's interesting because Darren Wilson received this recognition for subduing a suspected drug dealer, a far more heinous crime than shoplifting some cigarettes or cigarsThat particular issue still has not been determined, and Office Wilson was not aware of the supposed theft at the time he shot down Mr. Brown.  No further details have been released on the drug-dealer situation for which Office Wilson was commended, but I'd bet my next glass of wine that the suspect was white.  Go ahead, call me a cynic.

Ferguson Police, Protesters, and the Press

Police Officer's Oath:  I will act with honesty, courtesy, and regard for the welfare of others…

When Ferguson's citizens took to the streets to protest how the police department was handling the investigation into Mike Brown's death, they were met with officers showing off their shiny new paramilitary toys.  It was a unnecessary show of force that further exacerbated the whole situation.  It is interesting to learn that, contrary to popular belief, the FDP did not obtain these weapons from the Pentagon's 1033 program; to date, their provenance remains a mystery.  When asked by phone about the weapons, the FDP hung up on the reporter -- four times.
Many have urged for more police departments to utilize body cams and dash cams when patrolling their areas.  Not only do these units eliminate the ultimate he said/she said issues, but statistics have shown that police/citizen confrontations are lest hostile when both parties know they are being recorded.  And Ferguson had purchased three dash cams and two body cams; they've just never had them installed.  While it is true that cams would not be effective in every situation, they are certainly worth trying.

Naturally, the media arrived as soon as the protests began, and suffice it to say that they were not warmly greeted by the FDP.  They were threatened with arrest -- and some were arrested but not charged -- and told in at least one instance that they would be shot.  That's pretty civil, don't you think?  The international media has justifiably criticized our country for its hypocrisy on dealing with human rights.

Of course, the right-wing media is doing their best to be ornery, and succeeding very nicely.  Linda Chavez at Fox Nasty, egged on by Mike Doocy, opined that it is misleading to call Mike Brown an unarmed black teen.  I suppose black thug or known black hoodlum would appeal more to her, um, sense of propriety.  And on the blogger side of that fringe, the Dumbest Man on the Internet is trying to sell the tale that Capt. Ron Johnson once pulled his gun on a bunch of unarmed white kids.  It's true.  The only problem is that Hoft doesn't bother to tell the whole story.  Oh, and no innocent white kids were shot.   

For the time being, we have to wait for the two investigations to be completed.  No date has been forthcoming.  Fine; it is best that the investigations are thorough, no matter how long it takes.


Meanwhile, Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, and Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, discuss policing and race at a UN Review in Switzerland.



No comments:

Post a Comment